Milwaukee considers 'ex-gay' therapy ban

Sat. March 10, 2018 9:44 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

Milwaukee, WI - A Milwaukee council committee on Thursday approved an ordinance that would ban therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Such therapies go by names such as "conversion therapy," "reparative therapy" or "ex-gay therapy."

The measure now heads to the full council.

Alderman Chevalier Johnson, who sponsored the ordinance, is quoted by the AP as saying that such therapies are harmful and ineffective. He called his legislation "proactive."

Similar bills introduced last year in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate were shelved without so much as a hearing in either GOP-controlled chamber.

The council's Public Safety and Health Committee approved the measure after hearing testimony in support of the ban from LGBT advocates and mental health experts, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Two aldermen abstained from voting.

Tony Snell Rodriguez of the Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission said that the measure would send a positive message to LGBT youth.

"It's important that we show we're an affirming city to people that are making decisions about moving here or studying here or working here," he said. "It's an important message also to the children out there, who know that somebody is standing by them, that there's a city standing by them."

Similar bans have been approved in 11 states – Connecticut, Washington, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island and New Mexico – and the District of Columbia. Similar bills have been introduced this legislative session in New Hampshire, Maryland and Virginia. An increasing number of local municipalities have also enacted similar protections, particularly in Florida.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine